Perhaps it was a sign that this will be the Los Angeles X’s year.
Australia’s Jason Belmonte, the X’s franchise player in the Professional Bowlers Assn. League, won the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Masters title Sunday by defeating EJ Tackett, 221-177, at Brunswick Zone Carolier in New Jersey.
The 21-year-old Tackett, who entered Sunday’s five-player stepladder finals as the top seed, also is a member of the X. He was seeking his first PBA Tour title in his third career TV appearance.
Belmonte became the first bowler in nearly 50 years to defend a USBC Masters championship. He is the reigning PBA player of the year.
Against Tackett, Belmonte raced to a huge early lead and converted a spare in the 10th frame to seal the victory.
The fifth-seeded Belmonte is just the third player to successfully defend a Masters title. Billy Welu (1964-65) and Dick Hoover (1956-57) also accomplished the feat.
This marks the first year for Tackett on the X. Tackett, the PBA 2012-2013 rookie of the year from Huntington, Ind., competes in the No. 5 berth for the X, behind Mika Koivuniemi at No. 2, Parker Bohn III at No. 3 and Andres Gomez at No. 4.
The X opened the 2014 PBA League season with a victory over the BROOKLYN STyLES, putting them into the semifinals where it will meet the defending champion New York City WTT KingPins.
The KingPins beat the Motown Muscle – last season’s runner-up team – in the quarterfinals.
The semifinals will be shown on ESPN on March 30 and April 6.